on the page magazine

issue no. 9, winter 2002–2003


Winter Dinner for Six

stay cozy this winter without sacrificing flavor or fun in the kitchen

menu by Maureen White


  • Sweetened Dates Wrapped in Bacon

  • Pine Nut-Crusted Goat Cheese and Spinach Salad

  • Pan-Seared Halibut with Butternut Squash Risotto

  • Chocolate Almond Fondue
  • Suggested wine: Pinot Noir (current favorite is Hansel, from California)
  • Sweetened Dates Wrapped in Bacon

    8 strips of bacon, cut in thirds
    12 dates, pitted and halved
    2 tablespoons corn syrup
    2 tablespoons brown sugar

      Preheat oven to 350.
      Coat each date with corn syrup and brown sugar. Wrap bacon around coated date. Arrange on a baking sheet with high rim.
      Bake at 350 for 8–10 minutes or until bacon in thoroughly browned.
      Serve with toothpicks.

    red bow

    Pine Nut-Crusted Goat Cheese and Spinach Salad

    1 bag baby spinach
    1 red onion, diced
    1/2 cup pine nuts
    12 cremini mushrooms, sliced
    6 ounces soft goat cheese, cut into 1/2 inch rounds

    2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
    salt and pepper

      Whisk balsamic vinegar and 1/4 cup oil together until combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.
      In a bowl, toss spinach, diced red onion, and 1/4 cup pine nuts with dressing.
      Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in saucepan. Gently sauté mushrooms until warm but not reduced in size.
      Preheat broiler.
      Coat each goat cheese round evenly with remaining pine nuts. Transfer to baking sheet. Broil goat cheese about 2 inches from heat, until warmed, about 2 minutes.
      Divide spinach among six salad plates. Place sautéed mushrooms in center of spinach salad. Place one goat cheese round on top of each mushroom bed.
      Serve immediately.

    red bow

    Pan-Seared Halibut with Butternut Squash Risotto and Ginger Sauce

    For Risotto
    2 lbs butternut squash
    4 cups non-fat chicken broth
    1 onion, chopped
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    2 teaspoons fresh gingerroot, peeled and minced
    3 tablespoons butter
    1 cup arborio rice
    1/2 cup dry white wine
    4 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
    olive oil

      Preheat oven to 450.
      Halve squash lengthwise and discard seeds. Peel squash and dice into 1/4-inch pieces. Place in an oiled shallow baking pan and bake for 15 minutes or until tender and lightly browned. Stir the squash occasionally while baking.
      In a saucepan, bring broth to a simmer and keep at a slight simmer, covered.
      In a heavy pot over medium heat, cook onion, garlic, and gingerroot in butter, stirring, until softened.
      Stirring constantly, add rice. Add wine and cook, stirring, until absorbed. Stir in 1/2 cup simmering broth and cook at a strong simmer, stirring constantly, until broth is absorbed.
      Continue simmering and adding broth 1/2 cup at a time, letting each addition be absorbed before adding the next. You may have leftover broth.
      Stir in squash pieces, then cheese and salt, and continue to simmer, stirring, for about 1 minute.

    For Sauce
    1 cup dry white wine
    1/3 cup shallots
    1/3 cup fresh ginger
    1/2 cup cream

      Combine first three ingredients in saucepan over high heat—boil until reduced. Add cream and boil about 3 minutes.

    For Fish
    6 7-ounces fillets of fresh halibut
    olive oil
    salt and pepper

      Brush each fillet with olive oil, coating it lightly. Dust each fillet with salt and pepper.
      Coat the bottom of sauté pan with oil—just enough to cover entire pan—and heat over medium-high heat until warm.
      Place each fillet in pan and sear until cooked through on each side. Do not overcook.
      Divide risotto evenly among six plates. Place one halibut fillet on top of each risotto mound. Spoon sauce around outside of plate.
      Serve immediately.

    red bow

    Chocolate Almond Fondue

    6 tablespoons whipping cream
    3 tablespoons honey
    1 8-ounce bag of chocolate morsels
    1/2 teaspoon almond extract
    assorted fresh fruit (strawberries, sliced bananas, pineapple chunks, peeled pear wedges, orange segments)

      Bring cream and honey to simmer in heavy saucepan. Add chocolate and whisk until melted. Remove from heat. Whisk in almond extract.
      Pour fondue into bowl. Place on platter surrounded by fruit. Use skewers for serving.

    Maureen White currently resides in Manhattan, but is proud to be from Flint, Michigan. She is an actor and host of a local cable television talk show. She cooks whenever she can and is currently working on a line of sophisticated comfort food.

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